New students March Through the Arches

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Freshmen, transfer students and international students gathered to march through the arches Tuesday morning, beginning their journeys at St. Thomas.

Freshman Cristina Cromett anxiously waited for the ceremony to start.

“I think it will be fun, and you get more of a sense of community after you go through the arches,” she said. “You feel like more of a family here at UST.”

International student Vera Pospisilova said she doesn’t have anything like the annual March through the Arches ceremony in the Czech Republic.

“I think it’s a very nice ritual and a nice celebration,” she said. “We don’t have anything where other students would greet you and welcome you to the university when you are a freshman.”

The ceremony began as Associate Vice President of Enrollment Marla Friederichs and USG President Greg Scharine welcomed the students. Friederichs announced that this year there are 1,327 freshman, 249 transfer students and the most undergraduate international students the university has had so far.

Out of the freshman class, 52 percent are female.

They come from 393 different high schools, 24 states and 17 countries.

The class of 2015 has an average GPA of 3.56, their average class rank is the 75th percentile, 32 were valedictorians.

They have the highest average ACT in the history of the university of 25.7. This average included three perfect scores in English, seven in math, 14 in reading and five in science.

Scharine shared advice with the incoming students.

“I challenge all of you to be excellent this year. Excellence isn’t perfection, but it’s working as hard as you can to the best of your ability,” he said.

Students, staff and faculty welcomed the students with cheers and applause as they passed through the arches and into the newly renovated lower quad.

The ceremony concluded with an interfaith prayer from the Rev. Father Dennis Dease, university president. He blessed the class of 2015 and all students as they begin their educational, spiritual and personal journeys as St. Thomas students.

Madeline Carlson can be reached at